While I have cooked for my mom, I’ve never opened an entire restaurant for her. This is where Wen Wang – the owner of The Butterfly Lovers – and I differ. Before opening this completely vegan Chinese restaurant, Wen was running Tianfuzius in Schöneberg. Her vegan mother wanted a place she could also enjoy, and so in July 2021, Wen opened The Butterfly Lovers. Located on the edge of Volkspark am Weinberg in Mitte, the restaurant is a bright and approachable lunch spot that’s still sleek enough for dinner. Fresh flowers lift the space, complementing the floral wallpapered design on the bar. In summer, seating for 80 people spills out onto the terrace. The menu is hearty but not heavy: served with rice, the main dishes include fried vegan duck with salad and pickles, cauliflower with fermented black beans, braised mixed mushrooms in wine sauce and fried lotus roots with bell peppers.
We especially loved the Sichuan-style vegan chicken with tofu, onions, chili and peanuts, served in a crackled bowl of deep-fried rice paper and spiced with a generous amount of Sichuan pepper. The waiters can recommend dishes with less spice if you like, but if you’re not afraid of heat you’ll enjoy the Sichuan pepper throughout the menu. While vegan meats can sometimes feel a lazy option, the plant-based creations here impressed with their great flavor – especially the mock duck. To accompany there’s a drinks menu with beer on tap and soft drinks (we suggest the “Spring of Jade” with lime juice, ginger ale and soda) and a dessert menu that includes Mochi by Berlin masters Chubby Cheeks. Whether you are vegan or not, lunch or dinner at The Butterfly Lovers is a truly tasty choice. Wen Wang’s mom: you should be proud.
Text & Photos: Savannah van der Niet